May 26, 2020

The project "5G NetMobil" develops solutions for fully networked road traffic

The Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute HHI is collaborating with 15 other project partners from industry, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and research in the "5G NetMobil" project to solve key challenges in automotive real-time communication. The project’s newly published results are paving the way for standardization and series development.

More safety, more comfort and fewer emissions: When vehicles are connected both with each other and with the traffic infrastructure in real-time, the risk of both accidents and emissions is reduced. The crucial prerequisite for this is a stable and reliable data connection - either on the basis of the new high-performance fifth generation of mobile networks (5G) or with WiFi-based alternatives. Over the past three years, the Fraunhofer HHI has been collaborating with 15 other project partners from research, SMEs and industry on an approach for 5G as part of the "5G NetMobil" research project. The project partners are now presenting their results, making significant progress for a new era of mobility.

When driving in road traffic, drivers frequently encounter situations which they cannot fully assess. Thus, radar, ultrasonic and video sensors are the eyes of modern vehicles. They monitor the traffic in the vicinity of a particular vehicle, but cannot look around a street corner or behind obstacles. Direct vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-network (V2N) communication forms the basis for vehicles to connect with each other and exchange data with their environment in real-time - even far beyond the visual range. These technologies also enable commercial vehicles to join together in so-called platoons and drive in very close proximity to each other. Acceleration, braking and steering interventions take place synchronously via V2V communication. Automated slipstream driving in convoys significantly reduces fuel consumption and increases safety on highways.

To investigate, for example, the networking of trucks during platooning, the Fraunhofer HHI developed a standards-compliant test system for the C-V2X sidelink standard based on software-defined radio (SDR) technology. In the future, this system will also support 5G and serve as a test platform for new applications in vehicle networking. To realize the project vision of tactile networked driving, Fraunhofer HHI has additionally investigated innovative diversity mechanisms such as multi-connectivity (i.e. the simultaneous transmission of data from/to several base stations). Furthermore, first approaches for predicting the quality of service have been developed, which can be used, for example, to plan the distance between autonomous vehicles in the platoon in advance, as well as approaches for the simul-taneous support of safety-critical services and entertainment services.

The aim of the research project was to solve key challenges of automotive real-time communication. Fully networked driving can only be realized if direct communication between both the various vehicles and between the vehicle and the infrastructure functions reliably and with both high data rates and low latency. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research had funded the research project with 9.5 million euros. The foundations created by the project in the areas of networks, security and communication protocols now form the basis for standardization, the development of new business models and the project partners' first serial projects.